“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
A series of commemorative events have been taking place over the weekend to mark the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, Sachsenhausen and Ravensbrück concentration camps in April 1945.
Some 300 survivors, as well as the Vice President of the German Bundestag Wolfgang Thierse, the Minister of Education Annette Shavan and Brandenburg's Minister-President Matthias Platzeck, were expected to attend the events taking place from 17th to 19th April. Thousands more were present to remember the liberation of the camps at the commemorative ceremonies on Sunday.
In addition to the official remembrance ceremonies, the programme included a number of cultural events, as well as the re-opening on Friday of the 'Museum of the Death Marches' in Wittstock. The museum, which was badly damaged by right-wing extremists in 2002, includes an open-air exhibition documenting the ‘Death March' through the Belower forest, where, at the end of April 1945, around 18.000 prisoners from Sachsenhausen were forced to camp in the open air, and seeks to tell the story of the final, murderous stage in the concentration camp's history.
Commemorative events continue today and throughout the year at all three memorial sites. Further information about the anniversary programme can be found on the website of Brandenburg Memorials Foundation (in German).